First time poster here after years on the math board. Feel free to school me in etiquette if need be.

For most of my life, I have been a guitarist. About ten years ago, I picked up bass guitar and found I enjoyed it more and found it much more natural for my hands. I have always loved jazz and always wanted to learn upright bass, but never found an affordable one... until now. I found one. But I need to learn to play it properly.

I don't want to do my fingertips wrong, strain my wrists, etc. Although I am predominantly interested in jazz, I am looking for general resources for the beginning-est beginners on left and right hand placement, how to hold the bass against the body, etc. In other words, despite being able to proficiently read music, I want to pretend I'm starting over entirely... but on double bass. I want a resource that presupposes I know nothing, so that I don't make any assumptions that will hinder me or need to be corrected later.

I have found a few things online, but nothing really linear beyond a sporadic video here and there with no sense of where to go after that video is over. Any suggestions for books I should buy, or videos/series I should watch?

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    I've never learned upright bass, but from my experience with cello (which I learned a third instrument after guitar and electric bass) I would strongly recommend you take some proper lessons, either jazz or classical. There's so much useful technical stuff to learn on the bowed string instruments (even if you leave away the bow...) which you're unlikely to get working well without a teacher. – leftaroundabout Jan 28 '18 at 22:03
  • @leftaroundabout I promised myself that if anyone said that, I would do it. So I will do it. – The Count Jan 28 '18 at 23:37
  • I have been playing EBG for many years. Although musically/theoretically speaking, upright is very similar to EBG, in terms of technique and mechanical/physical skills required, it is entirely different, and not an easy beast to tame: So, I second the motion: Get a teacher and take some lessons. You know music and I assume you understand the role of the bass (although upright has its differences in that respect as well), but for upright technique you need a good teacher. – Stinkfoot Jan 29 '18 at 0:30
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    I tried the transition from bass guitar to double bass, and I found it much harder than I expected it to be. The double bass is a very physical instrument: pressing strings costs more energy, and the distances between positions are much larger. It's a little easier if you don't also insist on learning bow technique (although even jazz musicians should probably learn about that eventually). I recommend finding a teacher, at least to help you with the basics. – Remy Jan 29 '18 at 2:22

I must honestly say, if you have been playing a conventional electric bass for awhile, you will have no problem adapting to an upright (double-bass) bass.

I have played both, and, even though the double bass is fretless, it's an easy and intuitive transition.

Just don't use a pick. They will kick you off the stage for that particular indiscretion.

  • +1 for mention of pick ! But why use one generally on a bass guitar? The scale is also a fair bit longer, so that side of playing skills isn't too transferrable. – Tim Jan 29 '18 at 12:25
  • Haha, no pick intended. I play bass guitar both ways, depending on context. – The Count Jan 29 '18 at 13:58

I would suggest you go into a music instrument store and find a beginner's book for double bass. Don't know if it's still around, but a standard one back in my day was 'A Tune A Day'. Such books will tell you (and show you with photos) about hand position and talk about sitting or standing, arco (using the bow) and pizzicato (plucking) etc.

Another suggestion is that you take a couple of lessons from a professional teacher, especially at the beginning stage, to make sure you get things right from the start. Double bass is much harder on the left hand than bass guitar so hand position is vital. Holding a bow will probably be new to you so you will likely need help with hand position there too.

  • Purchased! I like what I found in terms of scans online of "Tune a Day". – The Count Jan 30 '18 at 15:58

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